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US:Wall St flat amid mixed earnings reports

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[NEW YORK] US stocks were little changed on Thursday morning as weak earnings reports from index heavyweights Verizon and Travelers were offset by AmEx's strong showing.

At 9.51 am, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 3.63 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 18,198.99.

The S&P 500 was down 2.15 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 2,142.14 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 7.50 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 5,238.91.

Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 indexes were lower. The energy's 0.53 percent drop was the second biggest.

Oil prices fell 2 per cent as investors booked profits a day after crude rose to a 15-month high on an unseasonal draw in stockpiles.

Among the few companies with encouraging results was Mattel , which rose 5.4 percent after the toymaker reported a quarterly profit that beat estimates.

A report from the Labor Department showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefit rose more-than-expected last week, but remained below a level that is associated with a strong labor market.

Stock futures were higher earlier in the day after more people perceived Democrat Hillary Clinton to have won the third and final US presidential debate than her Republican rival Donald Trump, according to a poll.

Mrs Clinton, favored by the markets as her policies are clearer, was also perceived to have also won the previous debates, with the markets rising each time.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,456 to 1,142. On the Nasdaq, 1,181 issues fell and 1,007 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed three new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 25 new highs and 22 new lows.